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Army sets new Strategic Planning Guidance

By Zachary M Gildin

WASHINGTON (Army News Service, Feb. 4, 2005) -- The Army released new Strategic Planning Guidance for 2005 that includes three new focus areas: homeland defense, irregular challenges, and stability operations.

The Army Strategic Planning Guidance was approved by Secretary of the Army Francis J. Harvey Jan 15.

"The ASPG is a long-range planning guide, with the purpose of defining the Army's strategy for the next 10 to 20 years," said Maj. Sue Bryant, an Army strategist who works in the Office of the Deputy Chief of Staff, G3, and is the principal author of the document.

Bryant explained that while the document is only required to be rewritten every two years, there was a need for refinement after the 2004 release.

"The Department of Defense released their Strategic Planning Guidance, and there were requirements in it the Army needed to react to. That necessitated that we put out a new strategic planning guide to refine the areas of focus."

The new ASPG along with being a refinement of the Army's strategy and objectives also is the first major document Secretary Harvey has been a part of since he was confirmed.

"The secretary got involved and personally crafted pieces of it to ensure that it met with his intent and met with his vision," said Bryant.

One of the major refinements to the document is the addition of 10 new Strategic Imperatives for the Army. They are:

Implement Transformation Initiatives
Improve Capabilities for Homeland Defense
Improve Proficiencies Against Irregular Challenges
Improve Capabilities for Stability Operations
Achieve Army Force Capabilities to Dominate in Complex Terrain
Improve Army Capabilities for Strategic Responsiveness
Improve Global Force Posture
Improve Capabilities for Battle Command
Improve Joint Fires Capability
Improve Capabilities for Joint Logistics.

Three of these 10 -- improve capabilities for homeland defense, improve capabilities for stability operations, and improve proficiencies against irregular challenges -- have been designated as new Army focus areas.

The irregular challenges are defined by the ASPG as, "unconventional methods adopted and employed by non-state and state actors to counter stronger state opponents." The document goes on to elaborate "Experiences over the last decade from Mogadishu to the Sha-I-Kot Mountains demonstrate the increasing frequency of the irregular challenge."

"The ten strategic imperatives, are the things the Army needs to do in order to maintain its global commitments and fight and win the War on Terrorism," explains Bryant.

Along with the refining of focus for the Army, the new ASPG attempts to make it easier for the reader to understand the Army's strategic objectives and how the Army plans to achieve them.

"The document lays things out in terms of an ends, ways, and means construct. We explain our objectives, how we are going to accomplish them and the resources available. We did this so that the reader understands what our strategic objectives are and how we are going to achieve them," explained Bryant.

The wording "strategic objectives" is also new to the document, changed from the old document's "core competencies." The two strategic objectives of the 2005 ASPG are "Trained and Equipped Soldiers and Developed Leaders" and "Relevant and Ready Land Power to the Combatant Commander as Part of the Joint Team."

"Many of the changes that have been made in the past two ASPG documents are in response to the new world the U.S. has entered in the post 9/11 era," Bryant said.

"A lot of it has to do with the fact that we are not fighting traditional nation states anymore, and wars like the one we are fighting in Iraq are an expression of that."

The 2005 ASPG can be found online at OCPA Public Affairs Home OCPA Public Affairs Home


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